Arizona’s Secretary of State Adrian Fontes has bad news for his fellow Democrats: He is not allowed to keep Donald Trump off the ballot in the 2024 presidential election.
Fontes explained that he lacks the authority to prevent Trump from running for president in his state. There have been suggestions to disqualify the former president from running based on the 14th Amendment, which states that those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the government cannot hold office.
Fontes noted that despite the left’s wild claims that Trump incited an alleged “insurrection,” he is unable to take such action due to a prior Arizona Supreme Court ruling.
“Now, the Arizona Supreme Court said that because there’s no statutory process in federal law to enforce Section 3 of the 14th amendment, you can’t enforce it,” Fontes said on “The Gaggle” podcast by The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com.
“That’s what the Arizona Supreme Court said, so that’s the state of the law in Arizona. Now, do I agree with that? No, that’s stupid,” Fontes continued.
Fontes stipulated that he will follow Arizona’s law.
“What I’m saying is I’m going to follow the law,” Fontes said. “And the law in Arizona is what the law in Arizona is. Whether I like it or not, is irrelevant.”
Progressive nonprofits have pledged to pursue legal challenges if state election authorities decide to include Trump on the ballot despite objections.
In 2021, Free Speech For People, a nonprofit organization, dispatched letters to the chief election officers in all 50 states, requesting Trump’s disqualification in case of a presidential run. Ron Fein, the organization’s legal director, said that officials are now beginning to discuss the matter.
“The framers of the 14th Amendment learned the bloody lesson that, once an oath-breaking insurrectionist engages in insurrection, they can’t be trusted to return to power,” Fein said.
Leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, the activist group filed lawsuits aimed at excluding Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) and former Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), both Republicans, from the ballot due to their participation in the January 6 protest.
In Greene’s case, the judge presiding over the lawsuit ruled in her favor, while Cawthorn’s situation became irrelevant after he lost in the primary.
The legal challenges were brought to the forefront when Secretary of State Fontes cited a ruling by Arizona’s high court, which concluded that only Congress possesses the authority to disqualify a candidate from the state’s presidential ballot.
Secretaries of state in other states are cautiously navigating this legal landscape. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, acknowledged in a recent radio interview that “valid legal arguments” exist for keeping Trump off the ballot. She also mentioned ongoing discussions with her counterparts in key presidential battleground states regarding this matter.
Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State from the Republican party, proposed that the matter should be decided by the voters.
“As Georgia’s Secretary of State, I have been clear that voters are smart and deserve the right to decide elections,” he said.
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan (R) is consulting with the state attorney general to invoke the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment to keep Trump off the ballot.
As secretary of state, Scanlan oversees New Hampshire’s presidential primary in early March.
“I will be asking the attorney general’s office for their input,” Secretary of State David Scanlan told the Globe. “And ultimately whatever is decided is probably going to require some judicial input.”
The legal theory that Scanlan is probing to keep Trump from running is nothing new. It revolves around the “insurrection” language cited in the Fourteenth Amendment.
A challenge was recently filed in federal court in Florida to have Donald Trump removed from the 2024 race under the 14th Amendment. Attorney Lawrence Caplan filed the challenge claiming Trump cannot legally be on the 2024 ballot because he “engaged in an insurrection.”
“The bottom line here is that President Trump both engaged in an insurrection and also gave aid and comfort to other individuals who were engaging in such actions, within the clear meaning of those terms as defined in Section Three of the 14th Amendment,” Caplan claimed. “Assuming that the public record to date is accurate, and we have no evidence to the contrary, Trump is no longer eligible to seek the office of the President of the United States, or of any other state of the Union.”
A judge appointed by former president Barack Obama summarily dismissed the case for lack of standing.